Here’s a genuinely weird twist on the usually neglected state of horror movies, particularly zombie flicks. The J. Michael Straczynski script for Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company has been in limbo for some time and I was pretty certain that this movie would never be made. Looks like I was wrong.
Variety reports that the adaptation of Max Brooks’ stellar “oral history” of a global zombie outbreak has signed a director. A good one, at that. Marc Forster, director of Finding Neverland, Monster’s Ball and most recently, the latest Bond flick, Quantum of Solace, has been signed to direct.
It’s important that World War Z get a quality production crew behind it. Where the zombie movies of the last decade have been lacking the impact of the films from the height of the concept, Zombie fiction has been taking flight, going in unique directions that manage to avoid the gun fantasy that most contemporary zombie movies become. If you haven’t read it, you really should at this point. World War Z is a hybrid between your typical novel and a short story anthology. One world, one continuity, short stories taking place in that continuity. It’s an anthology of survivor tales from all over the world as Zombies become a real problem. It’s a remarkably grim and straight faced protrayal of the end of the world.
Where before I was pretty tired of zombie movies, I’m pretty pumped about this news. If there is one adaptation I want to see and see done right, it’s this baby.
Hollywood, we need to talk. I know that you’re having difficulties in the creativity department lately what with all these comic book adaptations and remakes of old horror movies, but this has got to stop. You’ve gone too far this time. Consider this your intervention.
I’m not at all kidding when I report to you that Ridley Scott of Scott brothers fame, the better Scott brother, director of Blade Runner (i.e. the coolest sci fi movie ever) has been signed to direct a big-screen adaptation of Monopoly. Yes, that Monopoly. The one with the dog and the boot vying for real estate supremacy in Atlantic City. Your favorite and mine, popularized by the once mighty Parker Brothers. But wait, this gets even weirder. Apparently, Scott is looking to give it:
an eye toward giving it a futuristic sheen along the lines of his iconic “Blade Runner.”
But here’s the best part. This says it all.
“Monopoly” marks the latest Hasbro property to look to pass go and head to the big screen. Board games and branded properties have become more attractive as studios look to mitigate risk by finding built-in audiences.
Universal is working with Hasbro on several projects as part of a long-term development deal. Platinum Dunes is producing its feature adaptation of “Ouija Board,” while the maritime classic “Battleship” is also in development. Elsewhere at Hasbro, Paramount this summer is set to release Stephen Sommers’ feature based on its “G.I. Joe” character. And “Trivial Pursuit: America Plays” is now airing as a syndicated television program.
Built in audiences. Adaptations of board games. Minimizing risk at the box office by offering people a structured narrative by way of an open ended board game with no real story to tell. Thanks, Hollywood. You really suck.
Let me tell you something. We love Rhode Island filmmakers up in the place and when writer/director Tony Nunes hit me up with the link to his Zombie Allegiance trailer, all he had to do was drop the name Richard Griffin, who is director of photography on this flick to generate a little Cinema Suicide interest. Back when we first started covering Beyond The Dunwich Horror, news came down that Griffin was contributing to this piece as well, a post-nuke zombie movie with the proper dose of Romero style social criticism.
Every indie filmmaker is making a zombie movie these days, it’s the easiest thing to do on no cash and the fanboys come running at the mere mention of the walking dead but few indies even attempt the informed social approach that Romero pioneered. So color me interested in Nunes’ flick.
The film takes place in a post nuclear WWIII America, where
those who were not killed in the attacks, were turned to zombies by a second biological attack. The world is mostly dead, and those who survived are either vigilantes, or desperate survivalists. One such group of survivalists find themselves defending their lives from much more than zombies and vigilantes, when strange disappearances start to occur. Religion, politics, and the fundamental struggle of right and wrong construct a backdrop to what is much more than a zombie/slasher flick, but a true account of American values. Zombie Allegiance is a unique take on what George Romero, and George Miller have constructed as a bleak future. In a wasteland of death and decay, selfish pride is the greatest villain of all.
Look, I know some of you reading this are in Israel and The UK but for those of you reading this in the United States, get off your ass and get out to the polls. Vote. Now. It is absolutely vital that you do this. Not registered? Check your local laws and see how it goes down but right here in New Hampshire you can just show up, register and then get in line to cast your vote.
And for the record, Cinema Suicide wholeheartedly endorses Senator Barack Obama for president. I’ve already cast my vote this morning. Now it’s your turn.
Also, if you’re voting in the state of California: Vote NO on Proposition 8.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program of depravity.
Think back to when you were a kid and you discovered horror movies. How old were you? What was your first exposure to the genre? According to my parents, I was a thrill-junkie from day one, at four years old pining for roller coasters and loud music but a year later I would see something that captured my imagination like nothing else. My dad took me to see The Empire Strikes Back at a theater in Binghamton, New York and at the same theater, Friday the 13th was still playing. He didn’t take me to see the movie but the poster was compelling and fascinated me. I couldn’t read and my dad only told me that I didn’t need to know about it so I knew nothing about the movie but you’ve seen that poster. It speaks volumes. It probably explains my undying devotion to that tired franchise. Needless to say that come hell or high water I was determined to see Friday the 13th, whatever it was. A couple of years later we would move from New York to Marblehead, Massachusetts, a town without cable and only a handful of UHF TV stations, all of whom ran a robust menu of cheap exploitation movies and sitcom reruns. WLVI, now a CW affiliate, was my particular favorite due in part to their saturday afternoon Creature Double Feature. By the time I caught up to it, the show was on last legs having been on the air since the 70′s and facing ratings in decline but it was an important stepping stone for me. Their rotation of movies prominently featured three of my enduring favorite production houses, Hammer Films, Toho and American International Pictures, all of whom are represented on the following list.
I bring this to your attention for a couple of reasons. Kids love this stuff and while I’m sure that few of these movies will hold their attention for lack of Hannah Montana or the cast of High School Musical, the cool kids are going to get it and with luck, will launch them on a journey into a rich genre of cheap thrills and grossly under appreciated genius. The other reason is that horror movies directed at kids are hardly horror movies at all. Typically, they’re goofy adventures without a real scare or hint of danger. Since they’re so heavily marketed, the dangerous scary stuff has to be kept to a minimum if parents are to approve and buy all the companion merchandise. Where’s the fun in that? The movies on this list are genuine horror movies. They were not necessarily made with kids in mind but are appropriate, at a parent’s discretion, for most children who want to get a taste of the real deal before they’re old enough to dive into the genre headfirst. So read on, the list begins after the jump.
I have a lot of fond memories surrounding Mystery Science Theater 3000. By the time that I caught up to it, it was airing nightly at midnight on Comedy Central, which seems only appropriate since the entire affair had that sort of vibe going on. They really communicated the psychotronic concept and the lunacy on display in any given episode was what you would expect from a midnight movie. The idea was so fresh and entertaining, too. Elvira and Joe Bob Briggs had made entire careers out of bagging on awful movies but none so robust as the Best Brains gang. So it was with a heavy heart that I watched the show slowly come to a halt in its latter days on Sci-Fi, a network that didn’t really seem to get it. The impression that I was left with was that the people in charge of the show at Sci-Fi were the kind of people who didn’t get the joke. “How am I supposed to hear what’s going with these guys cracking wise over the soundtrack and what’s more, they’re blocking the lower part of the screen! This is absurd! Shuffle them around the schedule until the fans go away and we can legitimately stop paying for this nonsense. We need money for more episodes of Stargate!”
Thankfully, this wasn’t the end. Joel Hodgson (Joel) and Trace Beaulieu (Dr. Forrester) went on to be a part of the brilliant and horribly misunderstood show, Freaks and Geeks, which was tragically cancelled after one season while Mike Nelson (Mike), Bill Corbet (Crow) and Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo) went on to become Rifftrax/The Film Crew. While I have no experience with The Film Crew, Rifftrax is pretty funny, utilizing the same MST3K idea of bagging on bad movies but through the use of a synced up MP3. Cinematic Titanic, on the other hand, is the real deal. Those who long for the days of late night bong rips, funny riffs and really awful movies could probably put this latest release on and smell the resin after all these years.
Cinema Suicide began as most movie blogs do. One man, his many opinions and an ability to write that is questionable at best. Since then, movie reviews made room for the latest news in horror, exploitation and cult movies. What you can expect to find is everything you could possibly want to know from DVD releases and reviews to trivia about movies you may or may not be familiar with. At the bottom line, Cinema Suicide aims to reach beyond the shallow interactions of your typical blog and create a community that can come together around a concept that we all have in common: A love of really crappy movies.
Jon on Woeful tales of the fanboy circuit: Tom Savini